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How Long is Someone an Immigrant? Reflections on 40 Years In the US

Kamyar Enshayan immigrated to the United States 40 years ago from Iran to go to college. He tried to attend school there, but he says that classes and whole semesters were getting cancelled due to governmental and cultural discontent. 

Amidst the current immigration debate, he's been asking himself a question: "how long someone stays an immigrant?"

In conversation with host Charity Nebbe, Enshayan talks about his journey to the US, how he put down roots, and his appreciation for being able to participate in local elections because of his past experiences with dictatorship. 

He also shares ways in which he's tried to break down barriers in his own life. 

"Being from Iran is hard because there have been so many scandals and misconceptions," he says. "When I was a student at Ohio State, at the peak of the Iranian Arms Deal controversy, I walked in a community parade with a sign that said 'you want a real Iranian arms deal? Come give me a hug.'" 

Kamyar Enshayan is the Director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa.

Lindsey Moon served as IPR's Senior Digital Producer - Music and the Executive Producer of IPR Studio One's All Access program. Moon started as a talk show producer with Iowa Public Radio in May of 2014. She came to IPR by way of Illinois Public Media, an NPR/PBS dual licensee in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Wisconsin Public Radio, where she worked as a producer and a general assignment reporter.
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa